I think it’s safe to say that workplace productivity today will be floating just above zero. Everyone is simply putting in time until Game 7 gets underway. The fuse gets lit at 6:00 tonight, and if all goes well, this town will explode three hours later. Of course, things won’t get too out of hand with the new Iron Fist policy the police have put into place – a ridiculous 400 arrests made (only two charges) on Saturday night for non-crimes. Things like walking on the street to get around the clogged sidewalks or stopping for ten seconds to take a photo. Give me a break. If the Oilers pull it off tonight, the cops better wise up and reel it back a notch. Trying to keep the crowd on the sidewalk by slapping them on the head, pushing them to the pavement, and arresting them is a big mistake. People want to celebrate together, and the police would be wise to let that happen. Make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. Arrest the noticeable assholes. But let the revelers have their time. Don’t antagonize or push the crowd, because they’ll push back.
I agree 100% with Journal writer Scott McKeen and what he had to say in today’s paper. A bit of moderation is in order here. This kind of civic galvanizing and excitement doesn’t come down the pipe too often, and when it does a big celebration should be expected. Yes, things have gotten out of hand in the past. Yes, there was damage done (VERY minor damage at that) in the past. But nobody has been seriously injured as of yet. The “hands off” policy seemed to work really well. This new “zero-tolerance” stance is one borne from political pressure, not from anything based in reality. Honestly, is it a crime to whoop it up in the streets?
I’ll be whooping it up at Rexall Place tonight. If the Oil pull off a win, I’ll try to make it down to Whyte for the spectacle. For the raucous but peaceable party. Here’s hoping things stay reasonable.
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?